Raise Your Glass

A few of the Chattanooga area’s  experts share their top choices for wine in 2018 – plus, tips on how to pair, pour, and savor flavor like a sommelier.

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Peter Rodriguez Bar Manager, Hennen’s


1/ Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Alexander Valley, California

This wine exhibits intense aromas of cassis, black currants, blackberries, and ripe cherries with a lovely floral note. The cabernet’s dark fruits and rich palate make it a perfect wine to pair with your favorite steak.



2/ Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuisse 2014

Burgundy, France

This finesse wine is refreshing, full of flavor, and has a citrus element that pairs well with chicken and light seafood. Notes of hazelnut, toasted almond, grapefruit, and lemon balance each other from the lightly floral nose to the lingering mineral finish.



3/ Chateau de Campuget 1753 Rosé 2016

Rhone, France

This blend of 90% syrah and 10% vermentino yields a pale rosé full of exotic fruit flavors and grapefruit notes. Delicately fresh, with a vibrant and rich mouthfeel, this rosé pairs well with your favorite chicken dishes.



4/ Cherry Pie Pinot Noir 2013

Carneros, California

This ruby red wine is full of fresh red fruit, black cherry, and smoky oak, with a hint of cocoa. Its long, pleasing finish carries the red fruit through and ends with a lingering buttery vanilla note. This wine goes especially well with chicken and turkey.

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Brian Leutwiler  Certified Wine Educator and Partner/General Manager at Imbibe: Wine, Spirits, Beer


1/ Francis Boulard et Fille 

Champagne Grand Cru, France

Francis and his daughter Delphine started this joint venture in 2010, growing only organic and biodynamically farmed vines from the Petite Montagne de Reims region in the Northern part of Champagne. They use a blend of 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay, and this stunningly vibrant, racy extra brut Champagne is in a class of its own.



2/ Campi di Fonterenza Pettirosso 

Tuscany, Italy

Twin sisters Margarita and Francesca Padovani started Fonterenza in 1997, with four hectares planted with organically grown sangiovese grapes and seven hectares of olive groves located due south of Sienna and the historic Chianti region. Their Pettirosso is a young, fresh, vibrant offering of meticulously grown sangiovese which shows surprising aging potential and dramatically captures the nuanced aromas and flavors of this region’s most acclaimed wine, the magnificent Brunello di Montalcino.



3/  Occhipinti SP68 Bianco 

Sicily, Italy

The young Arianna Occhipinti, niece to Giusto Occhipinti, whose wines are undisputedly amongst the very best of Sicily, has become a winemaker with rockstar status in the international wine world. One taste of her certified organic Sicilian Bianco (a blend of indigenous albanello and zibibbo grapes) goes a long way to explain her meteoric rise to prominence in the natural wine movement.



4/ Agnes et Rene Mosse Moussamoussettes Sparkling Rosé Pet-Nat 

Loire Valley, France

In 1999, Agnes and Rene began growing organically and biodynamically certified grapes for wine production. Their superb dry Rosé “Pet-Nat,” short for petillant naturel, meaning slightly sparkling natural wine, is made from gamay and grolleau gris grapes. The only thing almost as thrilling as tasting this gorgeous wine might be the fun one has saying the word “Moussamoussettes” after a few glasses!

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JEN GREGORY Chief Vinthusiast, Educator, Sommelier, and Owner of Vinthusiasm, Wine Consulting Business


1/ Louis de Grenelle Saumur Rosé Sparkling 

Saumur, France

100% cabernet franc rosé, these grapes are picked and made specifically for sparkling wine production. This is a wine that comes from a portfolio I trust inherently, Jon David Headrick Wines. If you see this on the back label, don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the wine or region. Just purchase and enjoy!


2/ Lapierre Morgon 

Beaujolais, France    

I’ve been fortunate enough to taste this Beaujolais over many years from an iconic producer and godfather of the region, Lapierre. 100% gamay, this red is light, affordable, and can even be served with a slight chill to it. Alternatively, it can age gracefully for many years to come!


3/  Saline Txakolina 

Basque Country, Spain

Txakolina is a refreshing light white from the Basque Country in Spain. It’s fun to pour, lower in alcohol, and easy to drink! Pair with any summer salad, seafood, or snack.


4/ Liquid Geography Rosé 

Leon, Spain

What I love about this wine is that 100% of the proceeds go to charity! On top of that it’s a gulpable, 100% mencia rosé at a fabulous cost.

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ALISON MATERA, DWS General Manager, Riverside Wine & Spirits


1/ Borgoluce Gaiante Valdobbiadene Prosecco Vino Frizzante DOCG Brut NV

Valdobbiadene, Italy

Prosecco tends to be sweet and fruity, but if you prefer a drier style, look for the word “brut” printed on the label. Made from 100% glera grapes and grown in clay soils in the hills between Valdobbiadene, Susegana, and Collalto, this prosecco shows honeycomb, butter, and citrus on the nose. Bright and juicy but classically dry, it boasts hints of saffron complementing the apple and citrus peel flavors. This wine has a long finish with plenty of underlying minerality and energy.



2/ Arnot-Roberts Syrah “Que Syrah Vineyard” 2015

Sonoma Coast, California

The 2015 syrah “Que Syrah Vineyard” is rich, powerful, and tannic. It’s bright and super expressive with notable intensity and structure, yet still approachable. Fruit flavors mix with strong spice aromatics (cinnamon, bay). Ripe red cherry, pomegranate, and wild herbs are built into the deep finish. Complex and age worthy, only four barrels are made of this syrah.



3/ Bachelet-Monnot Puligny Montrachet 2014 

Burgundy, France

White Burgundy never goes out of fashion. Think lemon fruit, mineral, and stony depth. This wine is produced from four old-vine parcels, silky, suave, and fully ripe. This is a creamy, layered chardonnay loaded with lime and white floral aromas and flavors, as well as some sappy, classy oak, and smoky reduction.



4/ Los Bermejos Listán Negro Rosado 2016

Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain

This is the latest vintage of Ignacio Valdera’s Negro Rosado and is made from the indigenous listán negro grape. It shows blood orange, pungent flowers, and succulent herbs on the nose. It also has light, crisp red fruit flavors which couple with a brisk salinity and underlying minerality. Bitter cherry and red currant flavors become sweeter and livelier as the wine opens up. It’s long on the finish.

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Michelle Richards  Certified Sommelier/General Manager at St. John’s Restaurant & Meeting Place


1/ Pinot Noir Barth Rosé Sekt Non-Vintage 

Rheingau, Germany

Barth Rosé Sekt, meaning sparkling wine in German, is made in the traditional Champagne method. The nose is filled with fresh strawberries and cherries, with a slight melon quality. Also, the slate soil from this vineyard helps to provide intense minerality on the palate. It is the perfect wine to begin your meal with as well as pair with fresh seafood.


2/ Occhipinti SP 68 Nero d’Avola & Frappato by Arianna Occhipinti 

Sicily, Italy

Arianna Occhipinti has such vision for the region of Vittoria in Sicily. Her style of winemaking is with minimal intervention, allowing nature to influence these wines. SP68 is a blend of Frappato and Nero d’Avola, two grape varieties that truly shine in this region. Beautifully aromatic on the nose, it boasts tart red fruit character on the palate. I would suggest enjoying this wine with lighter meats such as lamb, rabbit, or duck.


3/  White Blend (Malvasia Bianca, Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla) by Arbe Garbe 

Sonoma County, California

These wines are very much Friulian inspired, from their style of winemaking to the grapes they use and their approach to handling these vines. Very small in their production, only 304 cases, these wines are something special. The grapes have some skin contact, providing texture to the wine. The nose is absolutely stunning with notes of white flowers, honeysuckle, jasmine, and lemon tart.


4/ Mourvèdre, Grenache blend by Withers Winery 

Sierra Foothills, California

Wither’s winery is another star-studded stunner that really impressed me when I first tried their wines. The winemaker has a very delicate approach to winemaking, creating beautifully elegant wines. Their rosé is a blend of mourvèdre and grenache made in a traditional Bandol style. I would pair it with oysters, light pasta, fresh summer vegetables, and rabbit.

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Lauren Lamacchia Fine wine sales, Athens Distributing Company of Chattanooga


1/ Charles Armand Blanc De Blancs NV 

Burgundy, France

Bubbles are one of my favorite expressions of wine to drink, and Charles Armand Blanc de Blancs is one that exceeds my expectations. This wine is made in the traditional method with grapes sourced from the Burgundy region in France. Delicate bubbles, along with notes of peach and apricot, make this a perfect sparkling for any occasion.


2/ Paul Hobbs Hyde Pinot Noir 2014 

Carneros, Napa Valley, California

This wine’s aroma gives off a beautiful balance of earth and blue fruits, which then leads you to a velvety texture on the palate with notes of black raspberry, black cherry, and a balanced acidity. This pinot will pair well with a wide range of grilled or roasted pork dishes.


3/  Azienda Agricola Ausonia Pecorino 2014 

Abruzzo, Italy

I love to try different wine varietals from around the world, and Ausonia Pecorino is a fun one! 100% pecorino, not to be confused with the cheese, this wine comes from an ancient white grape varietal that has been rescued from extinction. Ausonia’s Pecorino is a beautiful expression of the grape, offering rich stone fruit aromas and flavors with a mineral driven finish. Enjoy this complex white with all things from the sea.


4/ Markowitsch Rosé 2016    


Markowitsch is a sustainable Austrian winery producing wines of high quality with exceptional values. Their 2016 rosé is composed of hand-harvested zweigelt, blaufränkisch, and cabernet sauvignon. Ripe red berry aromas are joined with a touch of fresh herbs on the palate. Lip-smacking acidity on the finish makes this rosé a splendid pairing for shellfish or just a rocking chair.

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Tara Taymore CEO, Georgia Winery


1/ Georgia Winery Chattanooga Blush

This sweet, flirty blush is just as delightful as the “Scenic City” for which it is named. A blend of Cayuga, Concord, and Niagara grapes, this delicious rosé pairs perfectly with garlic stuffed olives or pasta!


2/ Georgia Winery Ives Noir

Ives Noir is a port-inspired, semi-sweet red wine. It flows with velvety tones of blackberries and cherries. This wine provides the ideal sweetness level while maintaining a full grape flavor in 100% ives noir grapes. It can be served at room temperature for a bit more dryness, or chilled to bring out the fruity flavors. Ives Noir pairs fabulously with mozzarella salad!


3/ Georgia Winery Tara Bella

Tara Bella is a true Southern belle with an elegant earthiness that provides fond memories of warm Georgia sunshine beaming down on gentle peaks and mountain ridges. Celebrate Georgia’s unique culture and beauty with this unmistakably Southern wine. Tara Bella embraces the sweet, juicy flavors of a muscadine while maintaining a semi-dry freshness. Made with 100% muscadines, this wine pairs great with tropical mango salsa or a seafood dish!


4/ Georgia Winery Dread Head Red

Tap into your wild side with Dread Head Red, made at the Georgia Winery’s farm in the Chattanooga Valley. This is a rich, full-bodied wine with lots of character. The fruity flavors of the grape are followed by an acidic finish on this dry wine. Made with 100% norton, Dread Head Red is complemented by a hearty steak or even some dark chocolate!

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Carlo Bordogna CEO and master winemaker, Look Out Winery


1/ The Paolo

This is a complex wine containing a petite syrah and merlot blend. The flavors of black-cherry, French vanilla, and deep rich plum play nicely on your palate, with hints of chocolate. This wine is big enough to pair with a steak but also smooth enough to drink alone. It pairs well with Tuscany style pizza topped with prosciutto di Parma and lean artisan sausage or a hard Italian cheese like Parma-Reggiano cheese or Asiago.


2/ The Bier Wine

This wine is a unique mix of two white wines that has been handled in such a crafty way as to exude a Pilsner flavor. It is served at about 45 degrees which releases that beer ending everyone is accustomed to. The Bier Wine allows non-wine drinkers to step into the wine world. Released with perfect timing to enjoy during Octoberfest, this wine pairs well with every food group that would pair with beer.


3/ The Patrizio

This wine is a full-bodied rosé. It is a mix of a pinot noir and pinot grigio grapes. Served very cold, it boasts a rich, smooth flavor of strawberry, cherry, and French vanilla with hints of banana. This wine is very pleasing and easy to drink on a hot summer day or when eating a light red pasta, pork, or chicken dish.


4/ The Antonio Riesling

A very nice white wine with a melon flavor up front and a Granny Smith apple finish. This wine pairs excellently with poultry and is spectacular with Blue cheese.

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